Friday, March 5, 2010

Daunting Odds

Recently came across these statistics:

In the 1st year, 60% of photographers give up their business. Of that remaining 40%, another 25% will fail within the 2nd year. The ones that make it are the remaining 15% who endure through the 3rd year.

So essentially, 85% of new photographers don't make the cut by the third year. Those are pretty grim figures, and while they are certainly challenging, it doesn't really surprise me.


Well for starters I think there is much more to photography than owning a DSLR. There is also more to being a successful photographer than learning how to use your DSLR, though that is definitely a necessary step and a prerequisite. Marketing is nice, but it only really works when backing a stellar product. You can't have icing without cake. I guess you could, but who wants that?

The best photographers are out there constantly honing their craft and building upon a solid foundation (lighting, posing, composition) that was painstakingly laid out over time. The gap between the best and the mediocre hasn't necessarily grown any wider, but the ranks of the mediocre have certainly swelled.

Just take an honest look around at the websites and portfolios of the average photographer. Sloppy images and sloppy websites are kind of the norm in the industry. It doesn't surprise me that 85% are not making it past the third year. In fact, it's probably more of a miracle that some were even able to "survive" for even a little while.

I think everyone is entitled to follow their dreams (in any way they see fit), but it shouldn't come as a surprise when you don't hit that 2 outer. If you do, great. But in the long run, you'll probably donate your winnings right back to the table.

Numbers don't lie. People do, which sometimes lead to numbers lying. But in this case, there seems to be a logical explanation for why the numbers are what they are.

Cheers to everyone grappling and working to be a part of the elusive 15% that makes it past the 3rd year. There's no silver or bronze in life. You make it, or you don't.

1 comment:

  1. This post got me thinking about how fortunate for me to survive my first three years of full time photography career in Denver (now in 7th year running). Starting from zero personal network connection to my current standing in wedding photography in Denver community is truly a miracle with very hard work.

    Thanks for this post and I really enjoyed reading your journey to starting a new passionate career.